Intersection of Right and Beliefs
As mentioned previously, when parents are together, religious exposure doesn’t ordinarily become an issue. However, when parents divorce or otherwise end their relationship, religious indoctrination can be extremely divisive. And this issue can become all the more contentious if a court is called upon to issue orders regarding a parent’s right to raise their child in their religion of choice. There are Constitutional implications as to the impact on the parents, but there are additional concerns regarding what a court’s determination may mean for the children.
What do the Courts do?
A court faced with making a choice about religious exposure faces a difficult situation. Depending on the circumstances and history of the parties, the court may be limited in what it can do. In some instances, the decision is grounded upon the best interests of the children. If the children aren’t likely to suffer as a result of being exposed to multiple religions, perhaps shared decision-making with regard to religious decisions is appropriate. However, there are some religions that are much more restrictive than others. In these cases, the court may allow one parent to fully indoctrinate their children while prohibiting the other parent from attempts to indoctrinate the children in another religion.